Intrapreneurship is not an option by Roz Usheroff

I found Dan Schwabel’s recent Forbes article “Why Companies Want You To Become An Intrapreneur” very interesting.

Besides the fact that I talk about the importance of possessing an intrapreneurial mindset at some length in my book The Future of You! Creating Your Enduring Brand, the response from his readers reminded me that a “protect your turf, job security” mindset is still well ingrained into our collective employment psyches.

What do I mean?  Check out the following comment;

How ironic that I worked at 3M when the Post-It craze hit – and that a friend of mine, long retired, spend his working life in Lockheed (not Lockheed Martin) skunk works. Neither he nor I are of the view that real innovators are welcome in most organizations  –  there are too many apple carts that get knocked over with any significant change in the status quo. The PostIt guys at 3M only got anywhere because they got the chairman’s secretary to start using them, whence they got the chairman’s attention. Does it seriously take the chairman to get a sticky memo pad offered as a product? Lockheed was long known for the poor quality of work life – infamous, in fact – and the tortured politics of getting the manpower commitments for new planes.

This article overlooks the fact that people in organizations, even the best ones, will oppose change bitterly if it means some perceived loss to them. When there seems to be an allocation of internal resources to a new area, political sparks will fly, including outsiders looking for a piece of it and competitors and jealous bystanders wanting to kill it.

Many managements talk about innovators, skunk works and creative efforts but few will go beyond talk, which may well be doubletalk.

The above speaks volumes in that it erroneously reflects a long standing belief that we have some sort of tenure with the companies with whom we presently work, and as a result should govern our actions based on internal politics and positioning.  While I do not discount the fact that we must all be to varying degrees politically savvy in the proper context, the fact is that in today’s world of transactional engagement, we are ultimately going be measured on the value we bring to our employer client.

Even though one may encounter resistance to a new idea   ̶   read the story about the computer sales representative in the introduction of my book to see what I mean when I say resistance   ̶    we must, like any entrepreneur, earn our employer client’s business (re paycheck) every single day.

The individual who submitted the above comment and those that echoed his sentiments will, if they haven’t already, soon discover that you have to manage your career as if it “were a start-up business: a living, breathing, growing start-up of you.”*

This means that any concerns you might have in terms of being seen as political will be eliminated because, like any good business person, you will become strategic and intentional in everything you say and do.  This is in essence at the heart of the intrapreneural mindset.

Given the above, can you provide an example of instances in which you have adopted an intrapreneurial mindset?  What was the end result?

Outside the box Intrapreneurship2

Click here to put a voice to your ideas . . .

*In their book “The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career,” LinkedIn co-founder and chairman Reid Hoffman and author Ben Casnocha talk about the importance of managing your career as if it “were a start-up business: a living, breathing, growing start-up of you.”



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